It’s easy to see why Alex Flynn considers himself an adventurer. He’s run through the Sahara desert, Bavarian Alps and Amazon jungle. Alex has run, walked, biked, climbed and kayaked 3,256 miles across the US. His adventures have even taken him on foot from London to Rome, where the Pope blessed him.
All told, Alex has raced the equivalent distance of about 240 marathons in under four years as part of his 10 Million Metres challenge. He embarked on the challenge to raise funds for a cause close to his heart – Parkinson’s research.
Alex was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s in 2008.
“I was obsessed with sports before my diagnosis,” he says. “Now I want to turn that obsession into a way to get people moving to make this disease manageable.”
In fact, Alex was able to cut down his Parkinson’s medications while he was crossing the US. “Exercise is absolutely key,” he says.
Alex”s adventures extend beyond sports. He’s a father, speaker, and writer. Alex is also one of the founders of Spotlight YOPD, a charity that focuses on people with Young Onset Parkinson’s disease.
“I’m motivated by the hundreds of thousands of people who don’t yet know they have PD,” he says. “We need medical advancements to help these people. I will live with this disease for the remainder of my life, but someone else doesn’t need to.”
There’s only one thing that can slow Alex down – his wife. “She worries I’ll get hurt, also the stress of long adventures can be too hard on my family. And they are more important to me than anything.”
Alex is an inspiration to anyone living with a chronic illness that believes that life isn’t defined by a diagnosis. He points out that people living with Parkinson’s deal with perpetual change and the continual need to look for alternatives to a “normal” life.
“But what is a normal life?” he adds. “My life has been extraordinary. I’m proving that life doesn’t need to be built around a diagnosis.”
Learn more about Alex’s extraordinary life at www.alexflynn.co.uk.
Photo by Martin Palden